Almost 20 years ago, our church decided to mentor a family through Community Ministry of Montgomery County (now known as Interfaith Works). It became one of the most inspiring times of my life. Mary was a single parent needing support as she worked, went to college, and mothered a fourth-grader with learning disabilities. Five of us took on the task of supporting her. As a former school teacher, I decided to meet and work with the child, Suzie. Our commitment to Mary and Suzie was for a year. At the end of that time, we attended Mary’s graduation from Montgomery College, a very fulfilling experience.

I could not pull away from daughter Suzie and consequently became a close friend to Mary, too. I saw Suzie mainstreamed in school and graduate from high school. Even more exciting for me was attending Mary’s graduation from University of Maryland with a BA degree and again with a Masters. She is so dedicated.

There was some disappointment for mom when daughter Suzie became pregnant at 17. Mary had worked so hard to ensure her daughter’s life would be different from her own. Of course, a charming grandson was born. A few years later, Suzie met a wonderful man and they married, adding two adorable girls to the family. I sent a card to Suzie and her husband and, suddenly, they showed up at our church. Her grandmother noted how long I had been in her life through my church and perhaps she should consider a visit. Suzie and her whole family are weekly visitors and, much to my delight, Suzie announced she was going back to school!

(by Jacquie Tennant, Friends In Action mentor)